Chamber Mead wetlands receives planning permission

The creation of the Chamber Mead Wetlands took another big step forward when planning permission for the scheme was granted by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s planning committee.

Improving water quality

Creation of the wetland, led by the South East Rivers Trust (SERT) on behalf of the Hogsmill Catchment Partnership, will help to address poor water quality within the Hogsmill river. The scheme will also help a wider range of wildlife to flourish and improve the area as a place for people to enjoy.

The water quality is currently adversely affected by pollution from road runoff, mis-connected sewers (foul sewage incorrectly connected into surface water drains) and discharges from the Epsom Storm Tanks. These hold excess flows in the sewer network when there is prolonged wet weather.

It is proposed to divert the Green Lanes Stream through a series of wetlands within Chamber Mead open space, before connecting the channel back into the Hogsmill, downstream of the Stepping Stones.


The site of the proposed Chamber Mead wetland © South East Rivers Trust

More funding required

The project, which received planning permission in July, is supported – and will be funded by – a number of projects partners and funders, including the Hogsmill Catchment Partnership, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Environment Agency, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Surrey County Council, The Rivers Trust, Zoological Society of London and Thames Water.

However, further funding will be required, with SERT currently planning the work to begin in 2023 once additional funds have been secured.

This is part of the wider replenish work in partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation which aims to ‘replenish’ or restore 500 million litres of water in this local catchment. This, in turn, improves biodiversity, and enhance habitats implementing green infrastructure such as wetlands.

Hogsmill stepping stones near Chamber Mead © South East Rivers Trust

Benefits of a new wetland

The wetland will provide multiple benefits. It will:

  • Create up to 2,000m2 of valuable wetland habitat, boosting the diversity of wildlife within the Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve;
  • Safeguard an extra 200m of chalk stream habitat. Part of the Hogsmill, a globally-important chalk stream, will be protected from the influence of the Green Lane Stream’s extreme flows and poor water quality, benefitting chalk stream flora and fauna. This includes the popular Stepping Stones;
  • Reduce the risk to health from pollution along a section of the Hogsmill including the Stepping Stones, which are very popular with children for paddling as well as dogs. Notices are currently present warning the public of health risks because of poor water quality;
  • Provide improved community amenity, with the new wetlands forming an attractive addition to the Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve. Interpretation boards will enhance public appreciation of the Hogsmill and the pressures impacting upon it;
  • Offer outdoor educational opportunities for local schools, based around the new wetland habitat newly restored river;
A map of how the wetlands will look © South East Rivers Trust

Thanks for the public's support

Ed Byers, Senior Project Officer at SERT, said: “We’re excited to announce the granting of planning permission for the project and grateful for the continuing support of the public, project partners and funding. This is an important step in making the wetlands a reality, benefiting both the local community and environment.”

SERT will now continue to work hard to secure final funding to allow the project to go ahead. Construction of the wetlands is planned for 2023.

More information and updates about the project as they happen will be available on SERT’s Chamber Mead Wetlands webpage.

Hogsmill near Chamber Mead © South East Rivers Trust